Illinois beats Morehead State in NCAA Tournament opener after second-half surge

 Omaha – Third-seeded Illinois defeated No. 14 seed Morehead State 85-69 in the NCAA Tournament opening round on Thursday afternoon 

 at CHI Health Center Omaha. After shooting 60.7% in the second half, the Fighting Illini defeated the Eagles 46-31 for their first NCAA Tournament win since 2022.

Marcus Domask had his first triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The triple-double is Illinois'

sixth, the first in the NCAA Tournament, and the 10th overall. Domask completed his triple-double with a clutch 3-pointer at 2:58 of the second half, the team's final field goal.

In the second half, Dain Dainja scored 17 of his 21 points and shot 9-for-9 from the field for a season-best.

 Dainja tied his season-best with eight rebounds, three on the offensive glass, and two blocks.

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 26 points, his fifth straight 20-point game.


 Shannon scored 19 points in the first half and went 2-for-3 in the second.


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